Last year I became aware of a program in the HRM; Be a Santa to a Senior. Nursing home residents or members of the community who have no family to buy for them over the holidays are asked what special gift they would like for Christmas. The names and gift requests are sent to local stores (WalMart in the HRM) and displayed on a Christmas tree. The public is invited to select a senior to buy for; unwrapped gifts and the corresponding tags are dropped off at Customer Service. The gifts are small items, usually costing no more than $20-30.
Having lost my grandma last year, and having seen the unfortunate and lonely seniors who shared the nursing home with her, I was inspired to take part. I purchased for 3 seniors.
As I stopped by WalMart today, the tree was once again on display. Once again I chose to take part. Ethan wants a scarf and gloves. Adele would like a picture frame. I am looking forward to making the holidays a little brighter for them both. It makes me feel good, and I miss my grandma a little less.
Christmas is about traditions and family and sharing joy; it’s not about the presents. But if buying a small gift for a person lets them feel loved and less lonely during the holidays, and if it brings a smile to their face and provides something they need and, in some cases, cannot provide for themselves, then that means more than the item itself. Many charities focus on children and/or families at this time of year. Seniors are often overlooked.
If you are in the HRM, I encourage you to visit a WalMart and select a senior (or several!) to buy for. If you are outside the HRM, find out if there is a Santa for Seniors program in your area (the site at the bottom is a good place to start). If not, you may even be inspired to get in touch with your local nursing homes to explore the option of starting a program for next year.
$20 for a smile on someone’s face, a smile on your face and the warm feeling that comes from helping someone less fortunate – sounds like a good deal to me!
Be a Santa to a Senior (site also contains a list of participating Be a Santa to a Senior stores)